‘Bonanza’: Ben Cartwright Actor Lorne Greene Almost Wrote a Parenting Column Due to Fans Demands

by Will Shepard

Ben Cartwright might just be the most famous television dad of all time. Lorne Greene played the famous character on the Westerns show, Bonanza, for fourteen seasons.

Lorne Greene began playing the Bonanza character in 1959, and almost immediately, Ben Cartwright was taking the world by storm. The character’s popularity soared. In fact, the Western father figure became so popular that he thought about writing a column.

He was reportedly receiving so much mail asking for fatherly advice that he was tired of it. Lorne Greene thought that the best way to handle the mail situation was to write his own pieces.

This is much like the “Dear Annie” column in newspapers nowadays. People write in, asking for Annie’s help with a particular issue, and she gives them advice on the subject. Lorne Greene figured that he could do the same, but for Bonanza fans seeking fatherly advice.

Why Did Lorne Greene Never End up Writing the Column for “Bonanza” Fans?

Bonanza fans were always infatuated by the way that Ben Cartwright would handle his boys. Everyone was appreciative of how he was raising his kids.

For the time of the show, he was the perfect father. He was rich, a good person, passionate about his beliefs, and possessed a voice that could grab his children instantly. Ben Cartwright had it all. The Bonanza character was not afraid to hit children to discipline them either, which was considered normal at the time.

So, it was only natural that he was the father figure everyone was looking up to. On one particular occasion, Lorne Greene received a message from a fan who was concerned about her son. She was complaining that her child’s father couldn’t discipline their son properly.

But, the Bonanza star was having his assistant write back for those kinds of emails. Lorne Greene’s assistant was writing lots of those letters back to people. She would also suggest that they seek professional help in dealing with those matters.

For a short time, Lorne Greene thought about writing a column in a newspaper to address that kind of letter. But, ultimately, he decided against doing so. According to Maclean’s, he talked himself out of it.

“Who am I to tell anybody what to do about their kids? I don’t have the answers. My scriptwriters have the answers. But only for my boys.”

He chose not to write any advice down for people to follow. While people were probably disappointed by this, it was likely the best move for the Bonanza actor to make.